Nicole Madigan is a widely published journalist, editor, copywriter, content producer and communications specialist, with 15 years experience in the media and communications industry. She successfully transitioned to freelance work when she was pregnant with her first child. She recently broke into the publishing industry, with her first children’s book now for sale. This is her story.

I started my career as a cadet journalist at a small local newspaper before moving to News Limited’s community newspaper group in Brisbane. After that, I switched mediums after being offered an on-air role at Channel Nine. When I was pregnant with my first child I left the security of full-time work to embark on a freelance career. The first few years were slow to be honest, as my focus was on my babies, but I wrote semi-regularly for the women’s mags that are mostly no longer around, such as Madison, Cleo, Notebook etc.  I spent a few years after that working on a lot of parenting magazines and blogs, before moving into a business, finance, real estate and general interest focus in the last few years. I also offer content creation and copywriting services and that type of work is beginning to overtake traditional journalism.

I’m a journalist by trade, but also do a lot of content creation, blogs, copy writing, corporate writing etc. My journalism clients vary greatly these days, but some regulars include The CEO Magazine, Domain and Sunday Life. Content wise, I’ve got a six month contract with EML insurance, and have done regular work for Macquarie Bank, Lexis Nexis, Bupa and also get fed excess from a range of public relations agencies and website developers.

I’ve been dabbling at children’s books for years! I made my first attempt about five years ago actually. I wrote and wrote, completed a short picture book course and had a couple of manuscripts accessed until I felt like I could actually put a decent one together. Then I started circulating them. It’s cut throat and not something I’d recommend if you don’t like rejection. I’ve had plenty! My current publisher saw potential in two of my manuscripts and committed to publishing at least those two so it’s very exciting to see my debut book come to life!

As I’m traditionally published, circulation is primarily up to them. I do have a role to play in terms of promotion. It’s a little different to promoting myself as a freelancer in that it’s more ME rather than my business, so it’s taking a bit of getting used to. But I’ll get there!

The process has taught me to just keep going. I’ve had that approach to developing a successful freelance career. And I feel the same persistence has paid of this time.  It’s also shown me that at some point I have to sleep. With three kids to take care of, most of my freelance work takes place at night. Creative pursuits came from time that should have been spent sleeping!

And next? 
The next for me, will be more of everything hopefully! I love my work as a journalist, and I hope to keep writing children’s books. I’m also trying my hand at a middle grade novel and have an an idea for adult fiction. We’ll see how we go!

My advice for others is to keep at it. Don’t take rejection as a reflection of your ability. I read somewhere that 1 in every 15 submissions makes it to an acquisitions meeting – and even then the publisher has to convince the sales team that the book can sell. I’d also suggested reading as many children’s books as you possibly can. The more you read, the more polished your own work will be.


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